A Chester County resident arrested Thursday night is expected to be the first person charged under a new state law prohibiting the possession of animal-fighting paraphernalia.

Humane police officers, with the assistance of local authorities, executed a search warrant at a home on the 400 block of West Fourth Avenue in Parkesburg around 10:45 p.m., according to a news release from the Chester County SPCA.

The officers were working on a tip from state probation and parole agents, who had reported seeing what appeared to be animal-fighting equipment while conducting a routine offender check at the home.

Inside, SPCA officers discovered numerous items believed to be used to train fighting dogs, including two large dog treadmills, anabolic steroid liquids, syringes, weighted vests, and printed propaganda promoting dog fighting, authorities said.

Officers seized five adult pit bull terriers and seven 4-week-old puppies. The adult pit bulls suffered scars to their faces and bodies consistent with injuries associated with dogfighting, the SPCA said.

All 12 dogs were taken to the Chester County SPCA, where they will be held until they are available for adoption.

One resident of the home was arrested, the SPCA confirmed. The resident's identity was not disclosed because charges had not yet been formally filed Friday afternoon.

The suspect is expected to be the first charged under a new state law that went into effect Sept. 30, the SPCA said.

Introduced by state Rep. Todd Stephens and signed by Gov. Wolf in July, the statute outlaws the possession of animal-fighting paraphernalia, including adrenaline-boosting drugs, blood-clotting agents, and equipment used to condition dogs for fights.

"Pennsylvania has made it clear that animal fighting will not be tolerated," Humane Police Officer Frank Galbraith, manager of the Chester County SPCA's Animal Protective Services Division, said in a statement. "This new law makes it possible for law enforcement to crack down on the scourge of animal fighting."

With the law in effect, possession of animal-fighting paraphernalia is now a third-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Contact Alex Wigglesworth at 215-854-2305 or AWigglesworth@philly.com. Follow @phila_lex on Twitter.
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